G. White -- the Myth and the Truth
by Å. Kaspersen
-A letter from A.T. Jones
the month of April, 1906, Ellen G. White sent out a testimony in which she mentions
several persons by name. These were well-known men within the Adventist denomination,
who had asked pertinent questions about her inspiration. In this testimony,
which she claimed was based on a vision, she asks these men to write down their
perplexities, and she would do her best to answer them.
Several of the brethren who were mentioned by name did as she asked them to
do, but they never received the courtesy of a reply. One of the men who responded
to the call, was A.T. Jones. Here follows portions of the letter he wrote to
Ellen G. White, dated April 26, 1909. He never got a reply to this letter, for
obvious reasons - what could she say? Once more, her false visions had put herself
into an embarassing position.
"Dear Sister White: In April 1906 you sent out a communication dated March 30th,
1906 in which are the following words:
"'Recently in the visions of the night I stood in a large company
of people. There were present Dr. Kellogg, Elders Jones, Tenny and Taylor, Dr.
Paulson, Elder Sadler, Judge Arthur and many of their associates. I
was directed by the Lord to request them and any others who have perplexities
and grievous things in their minds regarding the testimonies that I have borne,
to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help
me to answer these objections, and to make plain that which seems to be intricate.
Let those who are troubled now place upon paper a statement of the difficulties
that perplex their minds, and let us see if we cannot throw some light upon
the matter that will relieve their perplexities. . . .I am now charged to request
those who are in difficulty in regard to Sister White's work to let their questions
appear now, before the great day of judgment comes. . . .'
"And first of all it is proper for me to state why I have not written before:
"1. I never received from you, nor in any way by your instructions, any copy
of that communication.
"2. It was a long time before I obtained a copy. And only then did I get a copy
from a brother who had never received any copy from you, although he was named
in it; and he had obtained his copy from yet another brother to whom you had
sent a copy though he was not mentioned in it.
"3. Before I obtained a copy of it, the word came to me that you had called
on certain ones, and me amongst them to write out what difficulties might be
perplexing their minds concerning your writings, in order that you might explain,
etc., and thus it was only that special point that came to my attention. But
upon that consideration I would not write, and never would have written: and
this is for the reason that such a proposition in itself surrenders
at once the whole ground of the claim in behalf of your writings as the word
of God, or as given by inspiration of God. For if the writings were
really the word of God
a. They need no explanation.b. If the writings to be explained were not
the word of God, then I would not want any explanation of them; for I would
not care any more for them than for any other writings that were not the word
"Further I knew that the things that could be written, you simply could
not explain; and that any explanation would be worse than no explanation.
And the event has fully justified this view. For when in honest response to
your call, Brother Sadler and Brother Paulson wrote to you in all sincerity
their difficulties, in a communication dated June 3rd, 1906, you wrote the following
"'Sabbath night, a week ago, after I had been prayer- fully studying over those
things, I had a vision, in which I was speaking before a large
company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings. I
was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden
of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put into
"When Brother Sadler had his letter to you all written and ready to send, he
read it to me before he sent it. And then I said to him, 'My Brother, you will
never get an answer to that. Any answer would be worse than no answer.' And
just so it turned out. To this day Brother Sadler has received no answer to
his letter: though in acknowledging the receipt of his letter you promised that
you would answer. This promise you made in a letter dated June 14, 1906, in
the following words: 'As soon as I can I will clear up, if possible, the misunderstanding
regarding the work God has given me to do.'
"To Brother Paulson's letter you did make somewhat of an attempt at an answer
on just one point, and this most largely by quoting from Great
Controversy, and from the printedTestimonies, matter with which he was already
"That as relates to Sadler and Paulson: but it is even worse as relates to Dr.
Stewart: To Dr. Stewart there was sent a copy of your communication calling
for a writing out of doubts, objections, etc., though he was not named in the
communication. In response to that call Dr. Stewart wrote a letter to you presenting
just what you called for. This letter he sent to you alone, in the confidence
of a personal letter. At the same time he sent a letter to W.C. White,
your son, in which he asked that an answer should be made to his letter, and
that this answer might be received by him within thirty days.
"The next thing that Dr. Stewart heard from his letter, it was in the hands
of Elder A.G. Daniells in Takoma Park, Washington, who was then making public
use of it to the effect that "Here is a manuscript of seventy-eight pages of
objections to the testimonies," etc.; with no intimation that you had written
or sent to the author of the manuscript and others a communication calling upon
them to do just what he had done; but conveying the impression that the whole
thing of the manuscript was, on the part of the author, only a willful and voluntary
attack upon the Testimonies. And that is the only kind of an answer to his letter
that Dr. Stewart has ever seen or heard of. Neither from you nor from W.C. White
has he ever received a word in answer to his letter.
"Now Sister White, you wrote in the name of God, and appealed to men's Christian
integrity, and in the presence of the judgment, that they should state to you
their perplexities: 'Let it all be written out.' And you put
God under pledge for answer - 'The Lord will help me to answer these
objections.' That communication was sent personally to Dr. Stewart.
He accepted the communication as honestly intended, and wrote accordingly: then,
in the presence of all that, can you think, or can you expect any Christian
man to think, that the Judgment of God will justify or vindicate as fair, true,
and Christian, the course that was pursued with Dr. Stewart's letter?
"Now in the presence of the Judgment, it is only fair that I should believe
and recognize the probabilities are that you never saw Dr. Stewart's letter,
and never even had a chance to see it, for your sake it is only fair to suppose
that the probabilities are altogether that W.C. White received the letter and
read it, and then without ever giving you a chance to see it, posted it off
to Elder Daniells at Washington. . . .
"And will the Judgment vindicate as fair, true and Christian, the public use
of Dr. Stewart's letter to you, with the impression that it was a willful attack
upon you and your writings, while concealing the fact made perfectly plain in
Dr. Stewart's letter itself, that it was only and altogether in response to
the call that you had made in the name of the Lord, which call itself was copied
in the very letter of Dr. Stewart's that was being used? And then the public
use of his letter has so advertised it that there was such a call for it that
another man published it, then again Dr. Stewart was charged with attacking
the Testimonies and warring on you. Will the Judgment of God vindicate as the
righteousness of God such dealings as that? Can anybody who knows God or has
any respect for Him, believe of Him that He would sanction any such procedure
as all this? . . .
"Now please let me say a word on God's behalf: In your communication of March
30th, 1906, calling upon certain men by name to place upon paper the statement
of the difficulties that perplexed their minds, you wrote the following words:
"'In the visions of the night. . . .I was directed
by the Lord to request them and any others who have perplexities and
grievous things in their minds regarding the Testimonies that I have borne,
to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help
me to answer these objections, and to make plain that
which seems intricate. . . .Let it all be written out.'
"After having received in answer to that call what some brethren had honestly
written, you wrote under date of June 3rd, 1906 the following words: 'I
had a vision in which I was speaking before a large company, where
many questions were asked concerning my work and writings. I was directed
by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering
all the sayings and doubts that are being put into many minds.'
"Both of these communications profess to be as from God. As representing God,
therefore, they present the impossible situation as to God, in truth, that God
asked certain men by name that they put in writing a statement of all their
difficulties, etc., with the promise of an answer, and then, after He got the
statement, refused to answer.
"I repeat, therefore, that as to God in truth, and to any mind that has ever
received the revelation of God, that presents an impossible situation. For no
person that knows God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, can ever believe it
possible of God that He would call men personally by name to Him, only that
they should receive a slap in the face, or to be condemned.
"Didn't the Lord know what responses could be made to that call? Didn't He know
what response might be made? Yea, didn't He know what responses would be made?
Accordingly didn't He know before these statements were written, that there
was to be no answer? And He knowing all that, then can anybody except sensible
Christian men ever to believe of God that He would deliberately resort to an
unworthy trick of mere child's play with sober, well-meaning, manly men, believers,
in His own Son?
"Let us set these two statements of yours side by side: 'Recently in
the visions of the night I stood in a large company of people . . .
.I was directed by the Lord to request them and any others
who have perplexities and grievous things in their minds regarding the
Testimonies that I have borne, to specify what their objections and
criticisms are. The Lord will help me to answer these objections,
and to make plain that which seems intricate. Let it all be written
outand submitted to those who desire to remove the Perplexities.'
"'I had a vision in which I was speaking before a large
company where many questions were asked concerning my works
and writings. I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden
of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put into
"Sister White, can you or anybody else believe any person who knows God or has
respect for him to accept both these statements as coming from God? Can you
or anybody else expect that Christian men will believe of God that He will act
like that, or that He will treat men in any such way as that?
"Can you or anybody else expect that Christian men will accept any view of inspiration
that involves the holy, just and good God in any such a slim and unworthy trick
as that? Are we to believe of God that he is such an underling and so irresponsible
of Himself, that He can be pledged to a thing that utterly fails? That He can
be pledged and unpledged? That when under pledge He can be whiffled about, as
the workings out of this case show, so that His pledge shall be worse than nothing?
And all this in order to be 'loyal to the Testimonies?'
"Why, Sister White, to believe that and such as that, of God, the God of the
Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, would be nothing short of
the utmost limit of irreverence.
"Again: In those letters you were asked these questions:
1. 'Do you approve of sending personal testimonies which the Lord has given
to men, broadcast to other people?'
2. 'Is it not a Bible rule that when we have any criticism of a brother, it
shall be presented to him personally, then afterwards to two or three, and then
if he rejects it, to the church?'
"These are vital questions.
"It is the truth that copies of the Testimonies to individuals are sent
to the officials of the denomination, at the same time, or even before, they
are sent to the individuals to whom they pertain.
"It is the truth that Testimonies to individuals are sent to others
than the ones most concerned, and are made public use of, and are even used
in print and published everywhere, without their ever having been received,
or seen or heard of, by the individual or the ones named in the Testimonies.
"When Brother Tenney was cast out of the church, there was read and used against
him, as a basis and authority for casting him out, passages from a Testimony
that he never saw and that he never knew anything about until it was used against
him in that meeting.
"In the controversy over the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Testimonies that the Sanitarium
Board never saw or heard of, have not only been published and used against them;
but have been printed and spread broadcast, before the Sanitarium people ever
knew that there were such communications in existence.
"Also myself: I have received letters from different parts of the country stating
that in the camp meetings Testimonies concerning me have been read, or quoted
from, or referred to; but Testimonies that I had never seen.
"That is exactly the case of your communication of February 4, 1907, to Bro.
Russell Hart in which I an twice mentioned by name, saying that I would "work
in every way possible to get possession" of the Tabernacle. That was used by
men (not by Brother Hart) as a 'Testimony' to denounce and decry me, and yet
I never saw it, nor knew of any of its contents till February 20, 1909
- more than two years after it was written. . . .
"In the Bible the Lord has directed that when a brother trespasses or is overtaken
in a fault he is to be gained and restored: not condemned and denounced. . .
"This is the word of the Lord directing us how we are to do towards the one
that is overtaken in a fault, or who has trespassed. But in the use
of your Testimonies this order has been reversed and even disregarded altogether.
A man's fault is published to the world in print, or told to everybody but himself.
And he is condemned and denounced, without the thing having been told him at
all, much less told to him in Christian kindness a second or a third time. .
"September 7, 1907, this communication was copied with the usual filing marks
"Sept. 7, 1907-8... H. 38 '07." It is only fair to suppose that at least seven
of these indicated "-8-" copies were sent to as many different persons and places,
and that they have been diligently used to publish and emphasize what is said
in the communication concerning me. Yet I never saw it till February 20, 1909;
more than two years after it was written. I saw it then only because a brother
told me that Brother Hart had a copy, and that others had a copy and were using
it. Then when I met Brother Hart I said to him that I had heard that he
had a copy of a Testimony in which I was personally mentioned; but that I had
never seen it nor known that it was in existenceand that I thought
it only fair that I should have a chance to see it. He thought so too and let
me take it. The passages that mention me are the following:
"I must act in accordance with the light that the Lord has given me,
and I say to you that Brother A.T. Jones and Dr. Kellogg will make every effort
possible to get possession of the Tabernacle, in order that they may present
their doctrines. We must not allow that house to be used for the promulgation
of error. The Tabernacle was built by the Seventh-day Adventist people. It is
their property and their loyal representatives should control it. On this question
I will stand firm, and if, you and others will take a decided stand with us,
you will be doing that which God requires of you at this time.
"We must make sure the control of the Tabernacle; for powerful Testimonies are
to be borne in it in favor of the truth. This is the word of the Lord
to you and others. Elder A.T. Jones will work in every way possible
to get possession of this house, and if he can do so, he will present in it
theories that should never be heard. I know whereof I speak in this
matter, and if you had believed the warnings that have been given,
you would have moved understandingly.
"Now in all kindness, with no feeling of resentment whatever, but with perfect
good humor I say to you, Sister White, and to everybody; and I say it solemnly
before God to be met in the judgment as the truth that those
statements concerning me are not true. They were not true when they
were written, they have never been true at any moment since they were written,
and they will never come true in any sense whatever. I not only never
did "all" that I possibly could, to get possession of the Tabernacle, I never
thought on it, nor thought of it. This I know in the same way that I know that
I am alive, or that I am here this moment writing this to you. . . .
"And all this time of a year and a half or more after it was copied while the
communication was being used far and wide to warn the people of my great wickedness,
apostasy, and antagonism, there was I going quietly along totally ignorant of
any such thing being in existence, and at the same time as innocent of what
it charged as was any child in the world.
"Yet in that communication you say: 'I know whereof I speak.' In respectful
reply, and in all kindness, I say: Sister White, you did not know whereof
you spoke; for there is not a vestige of truth in it; and neither you
nor anybody else can know what is not so. And while I cannot absolutely know
of another, as I know of myself, yet I do firmly believe that what is
said of Dr. Kellogg is just as completely untrue, as I know to be untrue what
is said of me.
"Further there stand the words: 'In accordance with the light the Lord
has given me... I say to you that Elder A.T. Jones and Dr. Kellogg
will make every effort possible to get possession of the Tabernacle.'
"There stand the words: 'This is the word of the Lord to you
and to others. Elder A.T. Jones will work in every possible way to get possession
of this house.' Sister White, the simple truth is that that is not light
at all for it is not true at all. And the Lord never gave it to you, for the
Lord does not give nor tell what is not true. This is not "the word
of the Lord" at all; for it never was true: and I know that the Lord never says
what is not true. Besides, if that were truly from the Lord, it would have been
given to me first of all, instead of to everybody but me, and never at all to
me. Do you suppose that I am going to believe that the Lord disregards His own
word and takes a course directly contrary to that laid down for us to take that
we may 'follow in His steps?' That is impossible.
"The Lord knows perfectly well that I never made any effort at all; that I never
worked in any way at all; and that I never thought at all to get possession
of the Tabernacle. And the Lord knows perfectly well that I and Dr. Kellogg
never acted together, nor spoke together, nor thought together, to any such
purpose as getting possession of the Tabernacle. . . .
"Also Sister White, you may remember that this is not the first tine
that I have been placed by you under the necessity of telling you that what
you had said was not at all true. The other time was in July 1903 in
your home at "Elmshaven" when you had called me at the Sanitarium to come down
to your house. You began very positively to talk to me. When I had listened
with some surprise for a considerable length of time you may remember that I
halted you and, looking straight into your eyes, said: 'Sister White,
there is not a particle of truth in what you are saying.' Upon this
you instantly dropped that strain and turned the conversation to another subject.
. . .
"At Berrien Springs, Michigan, in the time of the Lake Union Conference in 1904,
speaking of the book Living Temple, you said publicly to the congregation in
the assembly hall:
"'I never read the book; but Willie sat down by my side and read to me some
of the most objectionable passages. And I said to him; 'Willie, that is just
what was back there in New England,' etc., etc.
"Now, Sister White, I said then, and I say now, and I shall say forever, that
I have not a particle of confidence in Willie's inspiration to select and read
to you 'the most objectionable passages' of that book, or any other writing,
as a basis for your denouncing the book or writing a Testimony on the subject.
I know that John Huss and Jerome were burned at the stake, and Wickliffe and
Luther were pursued and persecuted to their graves, solely upon "some of the
most objectionable passages" of their writings selected and read by opposing
and prejudiced people.
"I know that Willie presented to me some of these 'most objectionable passages'
of his selection. And I know that the objectionable meaning which he
put into the passages to make them 'objectionable passages' was directly contrary
to the meaning that stands in plain passages in the plain printed words.
. . .
"In 1902 there had been printed a leaflet sermon of mine on 'The Revelation
of God.' I had been informed that in his addresses in these Union Conferences,
Brother Prescott had taken a single sentence from this sermon of mine and had
read that single sentence in with passages from books that he said were 'Pantheistic'
(and books not one of which I ever saw) in such a way as to make it
appear that I was teaching "Pantheism" equally with those others."
(Letter from A.T. Jones to EGW, April 26, 1909. Emphasis supplied.)
So far his letter to Ellen G. White. There are several things we are to note
in this letter.
1. Some of the brethren are asking pertinent questions about Ellen G. White's
testimonies. This comes to her knowledge.
2. In a "vision" several persons were mentioned by name, and asked to write
down their perplexities. God would then help to clear them up.
3. Faithful to this testimony, some of the brethren mentioned by name wrote
their perplexities to Ellen White, but then she suddenly gets a new "vision"
in which God informs her not to spend time on this matter. They would not get
any help from him.
4. None of the brethren who wrote to Ellen White got a reply from her. Dr. David
Paulson was the only one who got a partial "answer", mostly by quotes from her
5. The private letter Dr. Stewart wrote to Ellen White came instead in the hands
of A.G. Daniells, the president of the General Conference. Daniells published
Dr. Stewart's private letter to create the impression that it was an attack
on Ellen White and her writings.
6. Occasionally, testimonies from Ellen White were being sent - not to the person
in question, but to others, who got them printed and published. The person whom
the testimony was written to, learned of this after considerable time had passed.
7. On several occasions Ellen White accused A.T. Jones for having done certain
things he most definitely was not guilty of, and she took heaven as witness
to her accusations. This is bearing false witness.
There is no doubt that the two contradicting "visions" A.T. Jones is referring
to, were false. Our Heavenly Father does not operate this way. In this case
Ellen White presents God as a capricious God who changes his mind from day to
day. First of all, God gives a promise, and when the brethren in question are
faithful to the call, God suddenly withdraws his promise. These "visions" were
definitely not from the God of heaven, regardless of what Ellen
White may claim. A.T. Jones however tells, that this was not the first time
he caught her in telling lies.